Differing opinions on Saturday openers for deer hunting

For many avid hunters, the good news is the regular deer season in our region opens on Saturday. But for a few, that's also the bad news. Why the difference in opinions? It's primarily a demographical and business issue.

When the DEC and NYS Conservation Council polled the state's deer hunters, apparently the majority indicated they'd like to see a Saturday opening day rather than the Monday openers which had become traditional over the decades. The thinking was it would allow hunters who had Monday to Friday work schedules the opportunity to hunt on both opening day and the second day. It also meant big game hunting license-age students wouldn't have to “skip school” to hunt the opener. It would also add eight weekend days for hunters to be afield during the overall gun season. Sounds like a win-win situation, right?

However, after the first two years of the Saturday openers, complaints began to trickle in. The initial ones came from businesses, saying their preseason sales to hunters, which normally occurred the weekend prior to the old Monday openers, had dropped substantially. Hunters who resided outside the area they hunted also complained that the Saturday opener meant they still had to take the day or two off prior to opening day to travel and make preparations to hunt once there. And lastly, the anticipated spike in school-age youth deer hunters fell well below expectations, despite a brief increase when the minimum age to hunt big game was lowered.

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